Shakespeare’s Bad, Bad Reputation

Shakespeare for his entertainment value. Nice.

The Whiteboard

William Shakespeare not only has a reputation, he has several of them.  From a disloyal husband to a filthy-minded jokester to the greatest writer who ever lived, Shakespeare has been called just about everything.  His plays have gone from England’s banned performance list (1642-1660) to the required reading list in every major living language.  He has acquired a bad reputation among some parents, preachers, and traditionalists for being an inappropriately hilarious comedic genius.  He has acquired an even worse reputation among many students who accuse him of being insufferably boring.  Wait, what?

How can Shakespeare be “too entertaining” and “too boring,” all at the same time?  Such extreme misrepresentations occur when an author’s work is taken wildly out of context.  As seen in blockbusters like Shakespeare in Love, Hollywood popularly portrays Shakespeare as a dreamy-eyed young artist waiting to be galvanized by the spirit of inspiration.  Literary critics like…

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